Hold onto your butts, anime fans. Bleach is now a live-action film. The hit original manga series by Kubo Tite first was adapted into an animated tale stretching across 366 episodes before finally signing off. Now, Bleach returns in a new way, with actor Fukushi Sato in the lead role. Fans of his work in the Kamen Rider special effects action franchise may know him best as the title superhero of 2011’s Kamen Rider Fourze, where he played a high schooler whose greatest ambition was making friends with every student in his class, which just happened to be ravaged by fantastical monsters. So, not the biggest stretch to find him playing Kurosaki Ichigo, whose town is… ravaged by fantastical monsters.
Bleach creator Kubo said of the original comic that it was designed as a title that would not lend itself well to live-action adaptation. Something Kubo might later have regretted saying when the inevitable time came for the people of Warner Bros Japan to knock on the artist’s door talking movies. Kubo decided to take an active involvement in the film, if nothing else but to ensure the “authenticity” of the endeavor. We’ll leave it up to fans to scrutinize how well their work paid off.
The film also stars Sugisaki Hana of 2017’s Blade of the Immortal, this time as the Soul Reaper Rukia, come to put a hurting on some evil spirits. Things go a little pear-shaped from there.
Sato Shinsuke helms this project, known to some as the director of the live-action adaptation of Gantz and of Death Note: Light Up the New World. We mentioned him a few months back for his adaptation of the Inuyashiki anime, which also releases this year. Interestingly enough, that film also starred a well-known Kamen Rider lead in its ranks. Either this is just another lovely coincidence of popular Japanese entertainment or someone at Camp Sato really loves those bug-eyed do-gooders. Either way, we’re not complaining.
Bleach slices into Japanese theaters July 20, 2018.